4 Reasons Why You Should Move More at Work
According to the CDC, 1 in 4 American adults sit for more than 8 hours per day. And with the average American now spending over one-third of their waking life at work, turning the nation’s workplaces into healthier spaces is a great way to tackle the sitting “epidemic.”
While there are a lot of ways to increase your level of physical activity while you are at work, many still don’t realize some of the immediate perks that moving just a little bit more throughout the day can bring.
Your mental health will improve
Studies show that sitting for too long during the day can have a negative impact on mental health. Here are some examples:
- One study found that men and women who sat for 6 hours per day reported higher levels of psychological distress compared to their counterparts who sat for only 3 hours per day.
- Other research also suggests a link between sedentary behavior and a higher risk of anxiety.
- Another study found that those with sedentary lifestyles are just as likely to develop dementia as those born with a genetic predisposition to the disease.
Getting up and moving more throughout the day can help you to mitigate these effects, leading to a reduced risk of anxiety and cognitive decline, on top of a generally improved mental state.
Your back won’t hurt as much
The combination of poor sitting posture and sitting too long puts a lot of strain on your back and is a leading cause of chronic back pain, especially among office workers who spend much of their day at their desks. Improve your sitting posture by:
- Looking straight instead of at a downward angle. The average human head weighs about 10 lbs., which puts a lot of strain on your neck and shoulders if your head is angled downward for any extended period of time.
- Don’t slouch. Sit up straight and make sure your shoulders aren’t rolled too far forward. Leaning forward from your lower back puts extra pressure on your lumbar area, leading to pain.
- Don’t sit for too long. Take a small break to get up and stretch every 30-40 minutes to “reset” your posture while opening up your body to more oxygen and nutrients from your blood, which would normally become restricted by sitting for too long.
Your blood pressure will go down
Sedentary behavior has a strong association with elevated blood pressure. And what’s more, the link gets stronger the more sedentary you are, so the longer you go without moving, the more strongly it will impact your health. The most effective way to combat high blood pressure is through lifestyle adjustments — like eating a healthier diet, getting more exercise, and drinking more water – but taking more breaks to stand, walk, and stretch throughout the day can offset the risks caused by being too sedentary.
You will lower your diabetes risk
Sedentary behavior can lead to issues with high blood pressure even in those who are at a healthy weight. This is because even though one’s BMI may technically be within the “healthy” range, a lack of physical activity leads to an unhealthy fat-to-muscle ratio, leading to metabolic problems and increasing the risk of diabetes or prediabetes. Because diabetes screening is more often recommended for those who are overweight or obese, high blood sugar levels often go undetected for those who are not overweight.
So, even if you aren’t overweight yourself, don’t let your guard down. It is still a good idea to try and be more active throughout the day to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and stave off the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.